Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{September 22, 2006}   When Art Imitates Your Sad Life

I just watched last night’s season premiere of ER (thank you, Tivo!)- appropriately titled ‘Bloodline’- and bawled my eyes out during all of the sad scenes with Abby, who had to undergo a “Cesarean Section” (read: major abdominal surgery) for placental abruption.

I thought the conversation between Abby, Abby’s doc, and Kovac were well-written, but I do want to point out that most moms in that situation aren’t MDs, their husbands aren’t MDs, and their OBs do not speak to them as if they are intelligent women capable of making their own decisions. When Abby refused the medication to mature her baby’s lungs, I cheered like some sports fan watching his home team score during the big game. Then, I just about had an anxiety attack when Abby refused general anesthesia and said she wanted to be awake (haven’t all of us so-called “emergency” C/S moms been there? HERE’S A HINT: If they have time to give you an epidural or spinal, it probably wasn’t a true emergency)- and I was relieved when they gave her a spinal instead of putting he under. But when the OB said, “Opening the uterus”…I couldn’t breathe.

The surgery was very realistic. While they didn’t exactly show the exact moment of extraction, they came close. The most real moment for me was after the baby was stabilized and Abby was hemorrhaging, and Kovac wanted to stay with her but she yelled “SHUT UP SHUT SHUT SHUT UP!!!! Go with the baby…I don’t want him to be alone.”

We lay down, perhaps to die, for our babies. Our partners, whose first loyalty to us, do not understand why we always put the baby first. But the simple reason is that we are mothers. If pressed, if we had to choose, most of us would choose our children over our partners. Feel free to comment if you are an exception to this genetic rule- but for me, it is simply a primal thing that I cannot control. Baby/kid first, then me. Husband third (or now, fourth). I am the mom who would die for her kids, and would want DH to remarry.

 But with surgery…I firmly affirm the woman’s right to choose. Period. Pregnancy or not. Mag or not. Cesarean or not. Hysterectomy or not. Life or not. These matters of life or death are far more complicated than TV drama can do justice but I respect the writer of ER for making a valiant attempt. The masses need to see that the Cesarean issue isn’t an easy yes/no button, and that it’s wired into a lot more than “just what’s best for baby”.

Now, why do I keep getting back on this roller coaster of birth trauma whenever I know it is gonna make me sick? It happens every. single. time. that I hear or read about or see a birth- Cesarean or vaginal, complications or not, baby lives or not.

I really need to get a life. 


et cetera